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HBO's 'Newsroom' Distorts Weinergate, Vilifies Woman Who Came Forward

HBO's 'Newsroom' Distorts Weinergate, Vilifies Woman Who Came Forward

The pro-Obama super PAC known as HBO aired its latest advertisement Sunday in an hour-long spot called “The Newsroom: Season 1, Episode 8.”

The ad tackles the Weinergate scandal as part of a parable about the decline of journalistic standards, in which the media is prevented from covering urgent (and Obama-friendly) news by the pressure to compete with more tabloid-friendly networks (i.e. Fox News).

Sorkin also weaves in a side plot about how anti-terror wiretapping has made post-9/11 America like the Soviet Union under Stalin, but that’s a subject for another day.

Sorkin gets almost everything about Weinergate wrong, and even goes after the woman who came forward to tell her story because, as she stated at the time, she had learned that “Rep. Weiner had hired an investigating firm to go through all of his files,” and she worried that her privacy would be compromised.

At the time, Andrew Breitbart warned the media not to “start going after the girls.” But Sorkin does–slandering a young woman to suit his polemical purposes.

In Sorkin’s retelling, the Weinergate saga begins within the open-plan offices of a mainstream media network, where a journalist–gasp!–is reading a conservative blog:

Harper: Are you looking at

Brenner: Yeah.

Harper: Don’t make me write that you’re using Andrew Breitbart to research this show! 

Brenner: No… 

Brenner then explains that he is preparing a mock Republican debate that will involve Michele Bachmann, and he is using as a source on her. (There are numerous anti-Bachmann digs throughout the episode, including a long monologue against Bachmann’s religious beliefs that is presented as the height of erudition.)

It is while researching Bachmann that the journalists stumble across the Weinergate story. It’s a bit of a stretch to blame Bachmann for Weinergate–and that is only the beginning of Sorkin’s “creative license” with the story.

Here are a few other errors:

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